Friday, April 24, 2015

Eclectic Latin Restaurant Americano to Replace West End Cafe

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 10:25 AM

Last month when we broke the news that Green Hills Grille was reopening soon in the spot where the Mexican restaurant Alegria was located on Richard Jones Rd., the original plan for Alegria to move to 1720 West End Avenue. In a slight feint, the owners of Alegria are still seeking a West End relocation, but in the meantime plan to open a new eclectic Latin restaurant at the 1720 West End location.

Americano is described as "a freestyle tapas bar" and should open sometime next month in the space currently occupied by West End Cafe. The final day to grab a sandwich at the cafe will be this Sunday, April 26. Mark Dobbs, previously the executive chef of Alegria, will helm the kitchen at Americano. With a background studying and cooking in Barcelona, he should get a chance to show off his Spanish cuisine chops in the new space.

The official announcement promises "tapas, salads, tacos and large plates of Latin influence with a Nashville twist." Promised dishes like Nashville hot cauliflower served with buttermilk blue cheese and roasted dates with smoked pork belly seem to fit nicely within that ethos. They also promise "traditional Spanish favorites such as the chicken and sausage paella, a Jibarito sandwich (grilled vegetables, goat cheese, kale pesto, fried plantains), albondigas (veal pork meatballs in a sweet hot tomato sauce) and chicken chilindron vegetable stew."

When I ask people what they think the Nashville food scene is missing, a real tapas bar and Iberian cuisine are frequent responses, so Americano has a chance to fill a void. Although the old West End Cafe space is pretty small, only seating about 100 patrons, they'll be open long hours to accommodate the crowds. Americano will be open 11 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week, serving lunch and dinner with plans to expand to include a weekend brunch.

¡Buena suerte!

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Weekly Open Thread: Grocery Store Strategy and Ethos

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 8:49 AM

Grocery stores have been a fruitful topic on Bites lately, what with the news last week that Harris Teeter is exiting the Nashville market (with three HT stores to be converted to Krogers), followed by Steve Cavendish's post this week on Consumer Reports' fascinating ranking of America's grocery chains.

Readers had plenty to say on both of those topics. And it got us here at Bites thinking about how folks strategize their grocery shopping.

Question 1: How do you decide which stores to give your custom to? Some people avoid Walmart for a variety of reasons; based on the Bites comments, it appears some people are critical of Publix for farm labor issues. Which factors do you care about when selecting a store: ethics, prices, selection, friendly service, the general functionality and cleanliness of the store?

Meanwhile, a lot of us don't rely on just one store to provide all our grocery needs, and have to employ a multi-pronged shopping approach. I live near Harris Teeter on 21st Avenue, so I pick up most of my mainstream grocery basics there. But I have favorite items that I get elsewhere, including The Turnip Truck, Whole Foods, Publix, The Fresh Market in Brentwood and K&S World Market on Charlotte Pike. (OK, I'll admit it — I really like to grocery shop.)

Question 2: How do strategize your grocery store visits? Can you get away with visiting one store? Two? Six like me?

And what else is on your mind?

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Bound'ry Offers the Best Game in Town with Exotic Meats Dinners

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 7:32 AM

Not visiting Nashville any time soon
  • Not visiting Nashville any time soon
Chef Philip Shyatt of Bound'ry in Midtown has a particular talent for preparing wild game dishes. His menu overhaul at the venerable restaurant features many exotic meats and has been met with some acclaim.

Now Chef Shyatt wants to feature some of those ingredients such as emu, kangaroo, elk and water buffalo in a series of wild game dinners over the course of the next year. The first edition will be titled "Fight or Flight" and is scheduled for this Sunday, April 26, beginning at 7:30. Tickets are $75 or $100 with wine pairings and are available at the event website.

Here are some of the details of the dinner from the official invitation:

For this first dinner, Chef Shyatt has partnered with Amaroo Farms in Ashland City, Tennessee. The unique farm, whose ingredients were recently featured at the James Beard House in New York City, will provide emu for the dinner. Owner and operator of Amaroo Farms Ngon Nguyen will be on hand to explain his inspiration for the farm as well as his philosophy for raising healthy animals in a natural environment.

“Ngon and I have formed such a great partnership because we have similar beliefs when it comes to respecting the animals we raise for food,” says Chef Shyatt. “We hope this dinner will help our customers put the lives of these animals in perspective and raise awareness about the sustainability missions of the farms they come from. We’re hoping that this dinner will be a learning experience for our customers, as well as a fun and exciting meal.”

Emus in Ashland City? You learn something new every day ... check out the full menu after the jump.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

One More Chance to Catch the Fantastic Chef Documentary For Grace

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:52 PM

The Nashville Film Festival is bringing back a number of shows by popular demand, including For Grace, a documentary about Chicago chef Curtis Duffy.

Here's what I wrote about it for the NaFF guide in last week's Scene:

Food is a tricky subject for documentarians, because the emotions it stirs rarely transmit to the viewer. But filmmakers Kevin Pang and Mark Helenowski have found a powerhouse story in Curtis Duffy, arguably the next great American chef. Pang, an award-winning writer, and Helenowski, a young filmmaker with an outstanding touch, take the opening of Duffy's Michelin three-star restaurant Grace and turn it into an examination of the chef's troubled past. It's a masterful look at the demons that often drive the best.

I wrote that after watching a screener on my computer. After seeing it last weekend on the big screen, let me just put it this way: GO SEE THIS MOVIE.

If you appreciate fine dining and understand the truly hard work (and sacrifices) that chefs put into a great meal, Pang and Helenowski have made a film that will speak deeply to you. It's a delightful and moving flick.

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Jeni's Voluntarily Recalls All Ice Cream, Closes Shops After Listeria Found in Inspection Sample

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 1:55 PM

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, the Columbus, Ohio, ice creamery with three locations in Nashville, has decided to recall all of its ice cream and temporarily close all of its stores after inspectors found the listeria bacteria in a sample of Jeni's product randomly collected by the Nebraska Department of Health.

"We have decided to recall everything currently on retailer shelves, and we are closing our scoop shops until we are 100% confident every item we sell is safe," Jeni's CEO John Lowe says in an announcement on the Jeni's website.

Jeni's says the company isn't aware of anyone getting sick from the products but launched the recall out of "an abundance of caution."

The news comes just days after Texas ice cream outfit Blue Bell recalled all of its products after listeria was found in its products and customers fell ill in Kansas and Texas.

Listeria monocytogenes (the bacteria's full name) can cause temporary flu-like symptoms and and diarrhea in healthy individuals, but in children, the elderly and frail patients, the infection can be fatal. It can also cause miscarriage in pregnant women.

Jeni's advises its customers not to eat any ice cream already in their freezers:

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Enjoy Four-Course 'Breakfast for Dinner' at Lockeland Table Next Week

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 8:20 AM

Admit it. There are just times when we all like to enjoy breakfast for dinner, for many reasons. Sometimes we're just too lazy to cook after a tough day at work. Or maybe we've just arrived home from a night out at the bars, and Cookie Crisp and milk are all that we can manage to pull together. Whatever the reason, there's just something special about cooking a specific meal because that's what you want right then, not at some specified time of day dictated by tradition.

So even better, what if one of your favorite chefs was willing to cook the morning meal at night for you? That's the plan at an upcoming dinner event at Lockeland Table. Chef Hal Holden-Bache has put together a menu of breakfast favorites that he has elevated to LT standards and will be serving the to lucky diners this Wednesday, April 29, for one seating at 6:30.

The breakfast/dinner (brinner?) will cost $48 per person, and you'll need to call the restaurant at 615-228-4864 to make sure that you have a spot at the table of Lockeland. The four-course dinner will be served on Lockeland Table's private patio, so seating will be limited. As an added bonus, $20 extra will get you access to a bottomless Mimosa or Bloody Mary bar. (Be sure you've got a safe ride home if you take advantage of that option.)

Check out the menu:

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dogfish Head Brings Its Popular Beers Back to Nashville

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 9:07 AM

Local craft beer fans were very disappointed when Dogfish Head, the extremely popular brewery based out of Milton, Del., pulled out of the Nashville market after a brief foray in 2011. Hopes were raised when the brewery announced last summer that they were planning a return to Tennessee and the three other states that were cut off a few years ago.

But to the continued disappointment of Nashville's beer community, Dogfish decided to roll out in Memphis and Chattanooga first, presumably thanks to a lack of competition in the form of good local craft beers. (I'm just spitballin' here.) Now our time has finally come as Bounty Bev has stocked their warehouses with Dogfish's core portfolio offering of 60 Minute IPA, 90 Minute IPA, Namaste, Indian Brown Ale, Palo Santo Marron, Burton Baton, Midas Touch, Sixty-One and the gluten-free Tweason’ale. Plus they are also sending their spring seasonal Aprihop.

To celebrate the launch, Bounty Bev and Dogfish have scheduled a few days of special events at local watering holes. Check out the schedule:

Continue reading »

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Two French Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois Wines to Try

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 8:02 AM

If you’re a fan of bold red wines, I’ve got a bit of news that may be of interest to you. There’s a relatively newer category of Bordeaux, Cru Bourgeois, that is a bit more economical (and accessible), though just as enjoyable as many of the Grand Cru (first growth) Bordeaux wines. Wines with the Cru Bourgeois classification are traditional Bordeaux blends (generally cabernet sauvignon and merlot) from a single chateau in the Medoc area in the “Left Bank” portion of France's Bordeaux region. The wines with this classification also must endure a rigorous tasting and selection process and be certified by the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Medoc.

Whereas many Bordeaux wines can be quite expensive, most Cru Bourgeois wines range from $15 to $40 per bottle. And like many other (but certainly not all) Bordeaux wines, it is ready to drink now, but will improve with age over seven to 10 years from bottling. Two award-winning Cru Bourgeois wines from Medoc to try are:

Chateau Donissan Cru Bourgeois Listrac-Medoc 2010. Oak-barrel-aged for a year, this wine is primarily merlot, so it has strong tannins and needs at least an hour to breathe before serving. It pairs well with red meat but also with strong cheeses as well.

Chateau Hoat-Logat Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2009
. This wine is equal parts merlot and cabernet sauvignon (with 10% Cabernet Franc), so it’s just a bit more versatile with milder tannins. The oakiness from its aging comes through just a bit, along with a touch of berry. It also pairs well with meats and strong cheeses.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tammy Algood's New Book Celebrates Sunday Dinner in the South

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 9:05 AM

Folks new to the South no doubt have a few questions about “dinner.” As in, what is dinner? When is it? And how is it different from supper? I come from the Mississippi Delta region, so dinner is the last meal of the day (dinner is at suppertime, ahem), except for special occasions, which include holidays and just about any Sunday. And that’s something that just about all Southerners agree on: Sunday dinner can take place any time after church, and it’s usually a quite an occasion with a menu to match.

All that is to preface the announcement that favorite Nashville cookbook author and food personality Tammy Algood has released new cookbook that focuses on these special meals, titled Sunday Dinner in the South. The book is packed with more than 180 recipes for Sunday dinners, ranging from the classic and indulgent to some that are more contemporary and healthy. There’s everything from gelatin salads and casseroles to stratas and salsas. There’s also a large section dedicated to the most important part of the meal: dessert. Recipes include Roasted Brisket with Country Vegetables, Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Greens, Baked Chicken Ranch, Jalapeno Cornbread Biscotti, and Unclouded Day Sunshine Salad as well as Buttermilk Jam Cake and Warm Strawberry Cobbler.

The book is accented with a number of heartwarming and humorous stories from church leaders about Sunday dinners they’ve attended at church as well as at parishioners’ homes. It gives the reader a lot of insight into this Southern tradition as well as a good arsenal of go-to recipes for special occasions or even everyday dinners.

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Jackalope to Toast Four Years of Beer This Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 8:03 AM

It's hard to believe that it's been four years since Jackalope Brewing Co. first threw open the doors to the taproom at 710 Eighth Ave. S. and began serving brews to the public. In fact, Bailey Spaulding, Robyn Virball and their crew were actually a little premature with their opening, since they hadn't quite figured out the tangled wiring of their used brewhouse system that arrived without an instruction manual. Nevertheless, they soldiered on, since they couldn't turn away the legion of fans that were clamoring for their beers.

Brewing on a small pilot system, Jackalope was able to establish a sort of just-in-time system where they would have just enough beer ready to open the doors until they ran out at the end of each day the taproom was in operation. Since then, Jackalope has grown in capacity and reputation. They now offer a long roster of specialty beers on a rotating basis, plus their "core four " of Thunder Ann American Pale Ale, Rompo Red Rye Ale, Bearwalker Maple Brown Ale and Leghorn Rye India Pale Ale.

So now it's time to celebrate four years of beer with your friends at Jackalope. This Saturday, April 25, from noon until 8 p.m., everyone is invited to a party at the brewery. In addition to some special Jackalope beers and the standard favorites, there will also be food trucks, live music and special surprises from their friends at Legato Gelato, Soberdough breads and Twisted Handmade soft pretzels and beer cheese. All that's missing is you.

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